How would a character (with military training) deal with getting flash-grenaded? If they saw it thrown into the room, would they have time to recognize it, turn away, and cover eyes/ears? Would this help mitigate the effects of the flash-grenade? If not, how do they recover the quickest, minimizing their own vulnerability?
Grenades in general are fickle little beasts. You can have all the training in the world on them and they’ll still probably surprise you now and then. They’re more likely to dud than traditional grenades (for some reason) so there’s always that hope.
The M84 flashbang or stun grenade is supposedly supposed to go off within about one and a half to two and a half seconds after deployment. When an object is falling/traveling to a location, those miliseconds can be really critical. You might have that split second or two to react or you might have no time at all. It’s really up in the air.
If you’re being flashbanged outside, that’s better odds for you. If you’re being flashbanged in a closed environment, there’s very little you can do to avoid the effects completely; the best you can do is make efforts to not be permanently disabled from it. Flashbangs are considered non-lethal, but they’re most certainly not non-damaging. There’s a misconception that flashbangs are mostly harmless and are only used to distract, (thanks, CS:GO) but actually they can cause permanent hearing damage/deafness/tinnitus (ringing in the ears) eye damage, brain damage, limb loss, severe burns, and in the right circumstances they can straight up kill someone. Flashbangs caused fires during the 1980 Iranian Embassy Siege in London, and there’s been cases of people losing limbs to close contact with flashbangs.
Hubby remembers flashbang training better than I do so the rest is all basically his doing.
In addition to its titular “flash,” flashbangs work by releasing a wave of concussive force, basically a wave of high pressure. This is why you can’t really “avoid” a flashbang in a closed environment because there’s no defensive maneuver you can do to avoid pressure.
The most important thing to remember when being flashbanged is that you open your mouth. Flashbangs go off at about 170 decibels, which is 20 decibels more than the amount needed to rupture your eardrums. The chart I saw said that a jet taking off 25 meters away at 150 decibels would rupture your eardrums; imagine 20 decibels more than a jet engine taking off five feet from your head.
There is nothing you can do as a person to protect your ears from this. The pressure will affect your ears no matter what, so your body needs to both release the pressure and try to recover equilibrium after getting hit by the wave, because the blast will disturb the fluid in your ears (the stuff that maintains your sense of balance) and make you all wibbly-wobbly fuckity-uppity. If your mouth is closed and you cover your ears or plug your ears, your eardrums will be very wrecked and you may be brain-damaged as a result of all that concussive force having no escape route.
The flash of a flashbang basically turns on all of your photoreceptors so that your eyes are just like, 100% all the light, so the flash seems more intense and blinding. Even closing and protecting your eyes, your eyes are still sensitive to pressure, so if the flash doesn’t get you it’ll still send a wave of concussive force through your face and your eyes will still be like “why.”
Hubby says if we were to encounter a flashbang, we should cover our eyes, face away from the grenade, and open our mouth. Since there’s nothing we can do about our ears and plugging them would actually make the aftermath significantly worse, at least this will prevent major damage to your eyes, even though they’ll still be affected. Depending on proximity you may be deaf for a few seconds to a few minutes, although depending on eardrum damage your hearing might never fully recover. In an enclosed space you’ll probably be bleeding from the ears. Even if the flashbang goes off in another room, you might avoid the blinding effects but the concussive force would still hit you and at least disorient you/make your ears ring. Even if you took cover like behind a wall or something, you’ll still be affected, although not as severely. (fun fact: indoors the flashbang can blow out windows)
Your eyesight should return within a minute but it’ll be not very good for about/up to an hour after contact. You’ll be so stunned, blind, deaf, and off-balance that you honestly might not be able to do…anything. I don’t think there’s actually anything you can do to recover quickly from a serious flashbang encounter. Equilibrium is so incredibly important and having been stripped of that you can’t walk, run, crawl, climb, possibly even hold your weapon.
Obviously the actual effects depend on the proximity, the enclosed space, the soldier themselves, like…too much to count. You might be lucky enough to be up and moving again in a few minutes or you might be out for the count. Flashbangs are damn dangerous. If your character gets flashbanged and needs to be moving again quickly, either they need to be
1) Outside, several meters away, preferably behind cover
2) At least a room away from where the flashbang went off
I hope this is all helpful information! I’m sorry it took so long for me to answer this question.